Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why men beat women in Uganda (and its totally okay)

A survey conducted in 37 countries in Africa found that Uganda scores the highest percentage of Men aged 15-49 years who consider beating their wives okay as reported by New Vision.
This is a startling fact considering that we are referred to as a peaceful nation, the pearl of Africa at that. Are we secretly harboring our fears and disappointments from the world during the day only to unleash in the middle of the night? Valid questions we need to ask ourselves.
I was lucky to be brought up in a family built on the principals of love and understand. I had never quit comprehended what domestic violence entailed until I moved into an apartment, with a neighbor over the fence that fought with his wife regularly. It was like clockwork, at 4:00am I would wake up to screams of insults, loud door slams and the cry of a woman and children. Sometimes I sat up to imagine what was going on over there. It was nasty and sometimes their neighbors came out to intervene even though it continued to happen.
In the morning when I walked over to the same compound to hitch a ride with my coworker, my heart always sunk as I looked at the ‘fighting’ couple’s twins, waiting for their kindergarten shuttle to pick them up. I thought of the two beautiful angles that were exposed to frightening visuals and sounds of their parents thrifts at night, instead of being fast asleep, dreaming about rainbows and butterflies. Perhaps the saddest part is children like that are trapped in their parents dark cloud of poor choices and there is no one like social services at their aid. I imagine what kind of example the parents are setting for their daughters. As they grow, their character will most likely have two extreme traits; defiance or submission, neither of which are desirable traits of the future African women leaders our continent should aspire to promote.
Uganda is a classic case scenario of a country that is facing the after math of women emancipation and empowerment. As a society, women are below men in social-cultural hierarchy and we have historical practices that support the notion. For example Women in Uganda are under obligation in most tribes to; kneel while greeting/talking to men, eating last, staying in the background at gatherings and are certainly not allowed to echo their grievances in public especially if they contradict popular belief.
Modern times have not made life easier for women either, to play a lead role without feeling victimized. Many schools in Uganda ban girls from growing their hair, subjecting them to regular haircuts like boys, yet hair is the pride of a woman. Over time this plays against women’s self-esteem so much that at about their teen years, men can easily take advantage of them by filling missing void of self assurance and it plays to men’s favor to find a be withered woman of low standards because she makes the perfect victim for battering. Why? Because she doesn’t think much of herself and blindly obeys the man because her own voice was drowned out years ago.
For the man, the glory days of complete dominance are coming to an end and he does not like it. Na├»ve to him, beating his lady is a way to ensure the status quo remains for as long as it can as the reality sinks in that education has made it possible for women to own fancy jobs that command respect and in some instances earn her more than him. It’s a douchey way to live though. True manhood is based on the principal of mutual respect and trust fostered through a mutual understanding, not brutal coercion.
I think we as men have to come to grips that our error of dominance has come to a sad end and we have to redefine what manhood is and what it stands for without changing our inherent role that we have served over generations of supporting and supplement our women as a duty.

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